using conditional with past?

0
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I am doing a project for spanish class and am confused about the use of the conditional with the past tense. i want to say:

I would imagine that I was a princess

would it work to say: imaginaría que era un princesa?

or is there another way to do this'

2999 views
updated MAY 20, 2008
posted by tara3

8 Answers

1
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I see, as we always say: context is everything.

So you are in a castle and say:

Me imagino ser una princesa. or..

If you are sort of on the way to the castle and try to explain ...:

Si estuviera en un castillo/una vez en el castillo me imaginaría ser una princesa.

updated SEP 18, 2010
posted by 00494d19
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I can't answer with gramatical rules, basically because of lack of time and because I've forgotten them, but I would say:

Imaginaría que soy una princesa
Imaginaría ser una princesa

updated MAY 20, 2008
posted by Dunia
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Hi Tara, you said "am confused about the use of the conditional with the past tense", I will try to explain that you are talking about "Perfect conditional" which is used to express a future or present action in connection with a starting point past. So we have that perfect conditional is structuring by a subordinate sentence, that is the condition for (update) a capital sentence.

As has been said by Heidita and James:
Una vez en un castillo, imaginaría ser una princesa.
De haber estado en un castillo, podría imaginar ser una princesa.

In another context:
Si hubiéra estudiado más, podría aprobar el exámen.

updated MAY 19, 2008
posted by Vernic
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Hi, Tara. Heidita has already given you some good translations, but I'll add something that might help you in the future.

First, your English is a bit off. Although "I would imagine that I was a princess" is very common parlance, it isn't actually correct grammatically. It should be "I would imagine that I were a princess." The Spanish rule is similar to the English one: We use the subjunctive with the conditional. In Spanish, it's the past subjunctive.

As Heidita has shown, if the subject is the same for both clauses of the sentence, the second verb (ser in this case) is not conjugated in Spanish (Me imagino ser una princesa), so let's change the sentence a bit and introduce a second subject:

Conditional + subjunctive:
Me imaginaría que (ella) fuera una princesa.
I would imagine that she were a princess.

Indicative:
Me imagino que (ella) es una princesa.
I imagine that she is a princess.

So, to answer your question about whether "imaginaría que era un princesa" is correct, no, it isn't, because the conditional takes the past subjunctive, not the imperfect indicative.

Too much grammar'

updated MAY 19, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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No problem at all Tara. Do keep visiting, you will learn a lot here.

updated MAY 19, 2008
posted by 00494d19
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Thanks so much!
Sorry about the confusion at first, I'm new and wasn't sure how to phrase the question.

updated MAY 19, 2008
posted by tara3
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I'm not sure if that's what I'm trying to say...
The assigment is to plan a trip to Spain, so the context of this sentance is that if I were in a certain castle, I would imagine that I was a princess. So I'm not trying to say I "used to"...I'm trying to use would in the conditional sense.

updated MAY 19, 2008
posted by tara3
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As"I would imagine" means: I imagined..or..I used to imagine.in Spanish we would say:

Me solía imaginar que era una princesa.

updated MAY 19, 2008
posted by 00494d19